Aspects of Human Migration in 21st-Century India
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, Delhi, India
Received: September 25, 2017 Accepted: November 11, 2017 Published: November 17, 2017
Citation: Kumar V. Aspects of Human Migration in 21st-Century India. Madridge J Behav Soc Sci. 2017; 1(1): 19-30. doi: 10.18689/mjbss-1000104
Copyright: © 2017 The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The migrating man suffers harrowing experiences, he works hard, struggling to save something to send home to his family, but is caught in the vicious cycle of staying in the city to find a job and doing a job in order to continue staying in the city. Since rural-to-urban migration has been particularly male-selective and further more the pattern seems to be “rich student, poor worker”. But we have little information on the consequences of male migration on the family in the village. We do not know how male migration affects the structure of roles, division of labour between the sexes or the forms of dominance in the village production system. There is little data to show how women face the situation created by the absence of males within the family and in the larger community. Changes in labour demands, the increasing vulnerability of women, the widening access to developmental and political processes, the conflicting social demands and the economic compulsions may all be critical factors affecting the lives of such migrating man. While we have some idea about the economic and social deprivations of these men, we have little knowledge about the precise extent of exploitation and suffering they undergo, or about the views they have on their situation. This paper is an attempt to review the wide range of literature concerning migration in India.
Keywords: Migration; Change; Development; Exploitation; Social deprivation; Economic compulsions.
Rural India is still floating towards Cities. Migration from one state to another within India is mainly from Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Madya Pradesh. Here is a representative overview of migration from different states of India and persons migrating to other parts of the country. It is both seasonal and non-seasonal within India. The seasonal migration is mostly by weavers, brick makers and rice-go down workers (unloading rice from Lorries to depots and vice-versa). The non-seasonal migration is mainly by washermen, shoe-makers, hawkers (going from house to house), kerosene sellers, rickshaw drivers, fruit & vegetable wallas, railway-station porters, and employees of the Food Corporation of India, of other important wholesale food stockers, and of the Assam Electricity Board (e.g. helping repair electricity-line poles). These migrants live mostly without family in male groups and lead a very simple life, keeping in view their motive to earn money and send it to their family members living in Bihar, where some of that money is used, for instance, to build family houses. On many occasions, particularly for religious festivals or for the engagement or marriage of a family member, the migrant workers come back home. Since the 1960s, a number of major developments in global migration patterns have placed the phenomenon at the heart of international politics. First, the scale of movements has increased exponentially.
In the 1960s, only a handful of countries, mainly the traditional immigration nations in North America and Oceania, were significantly affected by international migration, but by the 1990s more than 2 per cent of the worldʼs population was living outside of their country of birth , and virtually every nation was influenced in some way by immigration or emigration of various kinds. Second, there has been an enormous increase in the diversity of international population movement. Whereas in the past, the bulk of such movement involved permanent, or at least long-term, settlement at the destination, world migration is now characterised by not only increased levels of permanent settlement in foreign countries but also by a myriad of temporary, circular migrations of varying duration with a range of purposes. Third, and perhaps inevitably, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of global institutions shaping the level and pattern of international migration.
Further, government involvement is increasing, not only in destination countries where attempts to limit the number and characteristics of immigrants have escalated, but also in origin countries where nations have realised the benefits of remittances to national development and actively encouraged emigration of various kinds. However, it is often overlooked that there are other institutions that have become important gatekeepers and facilitators in international migration [2,3]. These factors have reinforced each other to change the racial mix of many countries and cities beyond all recognition. Simultaneously, the increase in international migration has also given rise to paranoia and xenophobia. Migrants everywhere live a tenuous existence-rarely gaining the same rights as non-migrants, their hosts always aloof. Blamed for a range of ills-from unemployment to crime, strained social services to lack of national unity-migrants are aware of just how easily their rights can be swept away.
The human world has always been on the move. The scale and speed of migration has grown tremendously since the late nineteenth century, as transport and communication networks have brought ever larger masses of people together, with interruptions caused by policies of governments, keen to protect their territoriality in the short-term interest of a few privileged groups and with only a dim vision of a common future for humanity. In the case of citizens of one state, migration is a common affair, with migrants becoming seasonal travelers for work, festivals and pilgrimages. Migrants move between town and cities; they choose different places for spending their working lifetime in and for retiring to; they continually experience and absorb the culture or educational and health facilities of host communities, transmitting in turn their own culture and their own expertise to the host communities. This same pattern should apply to the globalised world of today. Migration forms part of being a global citizencitizens who feel at home anywhere, without losing a sense of where they come from and who are always ready to reinvent themselves as they absorb the wonders of new cultures, new technologies and new ways of being human. The various perspectives of the effects of human capital mobility within the migratory and development processes have not been free of the tensions that result from the nature of the exchanges and the unequal power relationships that are to be found in both the circulation of world knowledge and in its production, appropriation and use [4,5]
In fact, the migration of skilled or unskilled professionals and scientists from developing countries to industrialised economies has long been a controversial issue, and it has generated a myriad of questions. Firstly, it has economic and social implications for the developing countries of origin whose bank of human capital is limited. Secondly, skilled migrants establish linkages with the host countries, the main focus of which is on the demand for their skills and their integration into labour markets. In this context, there has been a resurgence of the migration and development nexus in recent research and policy discussions, and one of the main focus of attention is now directed towards the positive effects of migration. This is not a new topic, but it has gained relevance in recent times, with migrants now being considered as a potential leverage tool for development [6-8] who act as bridges between the home and the host countries. This has changed the dominant vision from the decades between 1960 and 1980 which focused on the negative effects migration had on the development of the countries of origin as a result of the transfer of valuable human resources to the productive systems of the countries of destination. Accordingly, it has been recognized that globalization and technological advances enable the emergence of new dimensions and opportunities for cooperation between the countries of origin and those of destination . This has inspired countries to negotiate new policy options with the intention of finding ways that can allow them to take advantage of the potential benefits of their overseas-based communities for their national development.
In practice, diverse studies have shown how skilled migrants can contribute to their countries of origin through transnational diaspora networks, business and investments links, scientific cooperation and eventual return to the home country [6,8,10,11]. The relationship between skilled migration and socio-economic development is not a simple one, and indeed, several experiences have shown that the society in the country of origin does not always benefit from brain gain practices. Furthermore, the potential for a positive impact on the various levels of the actual development process (micro, meso or macro) is not the same for all cases as it depends on both the particular characteristics of the migrants, and the contexts of the countries in which their migratory projects are carried out [7,12]. Therefore, the structural context of the country in question matters as a result of its influence on the possibility of having an impact on development. As Kapur  points out, while international migration is a cause and a consequence of globalisation, its effects in the countries of origin depend above all on internal factors in those countries. India represents a good case in point because of the strong presence of Indian skilled professionals, engineers, scientists and students in Western countries, which has long been a cause of national pride as well as a matter of general concern. In recent years, Indiaʼs gains in the form of reverse flows of expertise, investment and business leads, knowledge and technology and the worldʼs highest financial remittances, have resulted in a more positive view of the influence that foreign-based Indians can have on the economic progress of India and its integration in the world economy [12,13]. In development terms, India is a paradigmatic case since it has managed to position itself as one of the most dynamic countries in transition in the last two decades, boasting one of the highest rates of economic growth-registering GDP increases of 6 % in real terms during the 1990s and 7 % in the last decade-thereby becoming the second fastest growing large economy in the world after China [14,15].
However, achieving high growth should be judged in terms of the impact that such economic growth has on the quality of life and the social advancement of people, the expansion of their human capacities and their basic liberties [14-16]. It is precisely in this aspect where India still has a long way to go. Drèze and Sen  suggest that there is an urgent need for those who dream of making India a super economic power to reconsider not only the extent of their understanding of the mutual relationship between growth and development, but also their assessment of the demands of social justice, which are integrally linked to the expansion of human liberties. Similarly, DʼCosta and Bagchi  stress that Indiaʼs economic transition and high growth encompass deep rural poverty, underdevelopment and unprecedented forms of social and economic inequality. As India has attained a relevant position on the world stage in terms of its economic growth, technological innovation and competence, the increased demand for a skilled labour force resulting from its modernisation process has intensified the pressure to produce human capital of high quality. Even though the educational system is a key element in the definition of the quality and magnitude of the human capital available, India is faced with a lack of skilled human capital as a result of a deficient educational system and other serious problems that prevent the vast majority of the population not only from benefitting from economic progress but from participating in it as well. The fact that only the Indian elites have the chance to attain an excellent level of training (including the possibility of studying abroad) is the consequence of a complex structural problem that divides a privileged social group from the rest of society [14,15,17]. The low level of social and human development attained by the majority of its population has seen India fall behind in the various international rankings on prosperity. In the 2012 UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) (UNDP ), the country ranked 136th worldwide among the 187 countries included, sharing that position with Equatorial Guinea. India performs worse than other rapid emerging economies such as Russia, Brazil, China and South Africa, and its HDI average is below that of those countries, and it lags behind in all HDI component indicators and in terms of its overall position (136th while Russia ranks 55th, Brazil 85th, China 101st and South Africa 121st). In the 2012 Gender Inequality Index (GII), it ranked 132nd out of 148 countries, showing for example that 26.6 % of adult women have reached a secondary level of education compared to 50.4 % for men and that female participation in the labour market is 29 % compared to 80.7 % for their male counterparts (UNDP ). Notwithstanding the modest progress made in the last few decades, these data show that the country still has a very long way to go towards effective poverty eradication and a balanced and more inclusive broad-based development. Since the gains from migration contribute to the discourse on the economic growth of India, it is necessary to look at the options that help channel possible benefits towards the neediest sectors of the population and also to assess the effects of skilled migration from a broad perspective that considers the implications for human development and peopleʼs quality of life. All of this is done on the basis that the consequences of skilled migration in the form of transnational diaspora links, knowledge and experience flows, transfers of financial remittances or return migration are neither a panacea nor the way forward for the development of the countries of origin.
In the recent past, many studies of Indian migration were motivated by an interest in the socio-economic development contributions of the Indian diaspora. One such contribution, probably the most tangible of all, was in the form of financial remittances, which represent a clear link between migration and development, and many studies have highlighted the specific benefits for recipients [19-21]. The total amount of remittances has not only made India the worldʼs top recipient but this amount has increased considerably over the past few decades. Data from the World Bank show that remittances from India grew six fold between 1990 and 2000, rising from $2.1 billion to $12.3 billion, and they increased almost five fold in the last decade, reaching $55 billion in 2010 (World Bank ). Research has shown how the Indian diaspora has affected the home country in other ways, and a significant part of this research has focused on the development impact of Indian skilled professionals, engineers and scientists who are based abroad.
The frameworks of the studies from the 1960s to 1970s were mostly based on the brain drain approach, with most analyses emphasising the loss of human capital and the detrimental cost of public investment in higher education [23-25]. Bhagwati  proposed the idea of taxing brain drain and compensating the losers by giving a share of the sum collected to the home countries . However, over the last two decades, the focus has shifted towards a study of the transfer of knowledge, expertise and social capital gained by Indians overseas that may result in beneficial outcomes. By emphasising the possible benefits for India through the possibility of human capital transfers to the home country without people having to physically return there, Khadria  contributed to a change of viewpoint. All in all, diaspora contributions and return migration became more relevant as attempts were made to understand the impact of Indian skilled migration . In this fashion, several recent studies illustrate the important role that transnational diaspora networks have played in helping innovation and entrepreneurship in India. Saxenian [27,28] highlights the collective action of the Indian engineers and technicians who mobilised many of their fellow nationals into active associations and networks in the Silicon Valley region of the USA during the late 1990s, contributing to a reinforcement of Indiaʼs scientific and technological capacities through knowledge and technology transfers as well as in the form of investment, and entrepreneurial and business linkages. Nanda and Khanna  studied the links between the Indian diaspora and local entrepreneurs in the software industry in India, and they found that relying on diaspora networks for business leads and financing is something associated with better performing firms, especially those based in smaller cities with weaker institutional and financial environments.
A more recent study by Docquier and Rapoport  analyses the various channels through which Indian skilled migrants have contributed to the Indian economy. Firstly, their presence in the host countries has encouraged business links and they have provided foreign investors with information on the Indian labour force and this has generated demand for both Indian specialists in the IT sector and for IT services exported from India. Secondly, Indian skilled migration has helped to transfer knowledge and technology through diverse channels, including return and circular migration. Thirdly, Indian skilled migrants have played an important role as advisors, helping to improve the settings for entrepreneurship and venture capital in India, and they have also been actively involved in strategic decision-making. The authors show how highly skilled migration can generate positive network externalities and create winners, instead of simply depleting a countryʼs human capital. While Kapur [12,31] singles out the determining role of the Indian diaspora in Indiaʼs rise in the global IT sector during the 1990s and after, Chanda and Sreenivasan  show its importance for the national economy, within IT and business process outsourcing. These studies show how Indian IT professionals have attracted significant attention as they have come to be seen as a transnational class of professionals actively engaged in building an India that is global in scope. All these and further studies suggest the strong connections that skilled Indians based overseas maintain with people back in India, and they also show their systematic exchanges of information on jobs, business and investments prospects, science, technology and innovation, which result in beneficial contributions in the form of business and investment links, the expansion of entrepreneurship, the promotion of trade and scientific cooperation. At a policy level, it is noticeable that the Indian government has begun to appreciate these benefits, and it has recently implemented a number of policies aimed at harnessing the resources of skilled migrants. Beyond diaspora contributions, return migration is seen as another powerful tool for development in India.
In recent years, the country has experienced an increase in the number of skilled professionals returning home from the USA, UK and other European countries. It has been documented that these returnees are pulled by the economic, career, entrepreneurial and business opportunities that they see in India and by the chance to access local markets. Diverse research shows that together with family ties, a feeling of patriotism acts as an additional driving force motivating their return [33,34]. There are also some push factors at play and these include economic downturn in the destination countries which results in job insecurity, and the end of temporary contracts . Several studies see returning Indian professionals and entrepreneurs as having an important role to play in the socio-economic development of India, and these studies emphasise the transfer of advanced technical skills, managerial know-how and financial assets which they deploy in their professional activities, entrepreneurial ventures and investments, and in the creation of jobs [27,31,33].
Nanda and Khanna  show how overseas experience allows Indian entrepreneurs to gain access to business and financial opportunities. Taking examples of selected European countries, Rothgang and Schmidt , discuss the issues of return skilled migration and the brain gain effect. They stress the role of disseminating knowledge and the positive economic externalities arising from return migration. They also refer to the benefits that the IT sector in India had gained from such return migration. More recent research has shown the influence that structures and environments in the home and host countries have on the return plans and mobility decisions of skilled Indians based in developed countries. Finegold et al.  studied Indian students in the US. On the basis of a survey of skilled migrants, they noted that Indian students were potentially prepared to return to India if they could be guaranteed a good quality of life and a good career; Indian students in the USA would become potential returnees if there were good research opportunities and fewer hurdles in the forms of corruption and bureaucratic red tape in the home country. In relation to this point, Dustmann et al.  used the help of a dynamic model to explain how migration decisions often respond to the opportunity and efficiency of skills acquisition (including skills that are applicable to the home country). According to their view, skills are generally acquired where the cost of acquiring them is low and skills will go to the places where they can be applied with the best chance of a high return. I humbly argue that there is scope for brain gain through return migration if opportunities exist to apply the acquired skills and if the skills are more valued in the home country.
Temporary migration, often used interchangeably with circular, seasonal, short-term and spontaneous migration, has been a subject of much discourse. According to Zelinsky , all these movements, usually short-term, repetitive or cyclic, having the common motive of a temporary change of residence, are circular in nature. Circular migrants follow a circular path and maintain continuous but temporary absences from their place of origin for more than one day  Temporary or circular migration is a move made for a short period of time with the intention of returning to the place of usual residence. An important group of temporary migrants consists of seasonal migrants, who combine activity at several places according to seasonal labour requirements . Prevailing regional inequalities and uneven development in many Asian countries impel temporary internal migration from agriculturally backward and poor rural areas. Temporary migration has increased substantially in the last two decades in south, south-east and East Asia [40-44]. Seasonal migration has long been a source of income for rural households unable to support themselves through agriculture. Households diversify their economic activities outside the traditional agricultural sphere by sending out members to work in urban areas in the lean period . According to the school of New Economics of Labour Migration (NELM), temporary migration is considered a risk diversification strategy [46-48]. It is evident from the extant literature that temporary migration is one of the most significant livelihood strategies adopted by the poorest sections in rural India, predominantly in the form of seasonal mobility of labour [49-58]. People also move from rural areas to nearby or distant cities to find jobs in construction or the unorganized informal sector [51,53,59,60]. Mukherji  has termed this distress migration, which, according to him, paves the way for urban decay by causing urban poverty, unemployment and a shortage of housing. Breman , on the other hand, sees seasonal labour migration in western India as an important survival option for landless laborers. Landless agricultural laborers in Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand, who are trapped in debt bondage and belong to the lower social strata (scheduled tribes and castes or STs and SCs), migrate seasonally within or outside their states [51,53,56,57,59,60,62]. For instance, the monsoon frequently fails in Panchmahals district of Gujarat and seasonal migration of the tribal population to nearby rural and urban areas is common . Similar circumstances prompt temporary migration among tribal women in Jharkhand and West Bengal as well [57,63]. Though such migration can be taken as a sign of dynamism, it has more to do with increasing inequalities, agrarian instability and inadequate livelihood generation in many parts of rural and urban India [39,64].
There are several demographic and socio-economic factors such as age, sex, educational attainment, social group or caste, religion, poverty and size of landholding that affect temporary migration [40,42-45,65]. We have found that in rural areas, the decision of men to migrate is mainly moulded by community-level factors, while among women; temporary labour migration is predominantly determined by individual characteristics. Among the broad group of the underclass or the socio-economically deprived, which includes the poorest of the poor, the landless, illiterates or those with a very low level of education (say, primary school), the SC/STs and Muslims, temporary migration is very high [38,54,63,66-69]. Poverty is supposed to be a key push factor in temporary migration. Skeldon  states that under certain conditions, poverty may be the root cause of migration in some parts of the world, whereas in other parts, under different conditions, the poor may be among the last to move. Brauw  finds that households having low annual expenditures are more prone to migrate than others.
Some studies using data from the National Sample Survey (NSS) and Census of India have established that poor people are less mobile as far as permanent or semi-permanent migration is concerned [71-73], while Kundu and Sarangi  find there is no association between poverty and seasonal migration across the urban centers. Recent work by Keshri and Bhagat , which utilizes data from the 55th round of the NSS, reveals that seasonal migration is very prevalent among those belonging to the lowest expenditure quintiles, rural areas and STs. States having a higher level of inequality show higher temporary migration rates. However, the data has some limitations because the sample of temporary migrants is small and information is lacking on their destinations and occupations.
Despite large-scale temporary migration in absolute numbers, the phenomenon has not been adequately studied at the macro level in India. This has possibly been due to the unavailability of national-level data or the very limited information collected by national surveys (as in the 55th round of the NSS) . The census, which is the other important source of migration data, is mainly concerned with current and permanent migration and does not attempt to capture seasonal or short-term flows of labour [39,64]. There is thus a dearth of studies that provide a general picture of temporary migration at the national and state levels, which also examine its determining factors.
Against this backdrop, the recently available data from the 64th round of the NSS (2007-08)  provides a great opportunity to study temporary migration in India . With a comparatively large sample size of temporary migrants, this data allows us to analyze the phenomenon at the state level. Moreover, there is information on the destinations of temporary migrants, which makes studying streams of migration possible . The quality of the data has also improved compared to the previous round. Therefore this study aims to explore the pattern and state-wise intensity of temporary migration and to examine its association with poverty, landholding and education after controlling for other socio-demographic factors. As temporary migration in India is strongly influenced by seasons, the terms “temporary” and “seasonal” are used interchangeably. In this study, a temporary migrant is defined as a household member who has stayed away from his or her village or town for one month or more but less than six months in the last 365 days for employment or in search of employment.
Factors of Migration
‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ factors are most important parts of rural migration of unskilled and unemployed workers of India in general and Bihar in particular. Employment opportunity is shrinking everywhere due to increase in population, decline in handicraft, stagnant agricultural economy and absence of industrial growth which resulted into large scale seasonal migration from Bihar. Furthermore, the influence of kinship acted as most powerful factor to motivate their near and dear friends and relatives to come to places where such labourers are working and earning through their enterprising efforts. Difference in socio-economic pattern is basically responsible for migration in India. Most of the migrants in Bihar to other places belong to lower and depressed section of the society who are the worst victims of exploitation of landlords and big farmers. The demographic pressure coupled with famine, flood and starvation occurring due to failure of monsoon is the potent cause of migration. This forced the weaker section of society to move along with other known persons already engaged in job. Being motivated by the desire to seek freedom from life of incessant toil and shameful exploitation, a big chunk of schedule caste and backward class community migrated to urban cities.
However, one of the significant features about migration is that Migrants usually keep their alliance with the place of origin. Migrants usually carry the knowledge which they impart to the native population by way of discussion & participation in various activities, their sense of importance of education which they develop in their surroundings, their liberal attitude regarding the traditional social system, all these things directly contribute to the development of rural areas. Almost all the migrants contribute to the development of the rural areas either economically or socially or both. The economic condition of the migrants families is by & large better than those families in the village where from no migration has taken place. Thus, rural to urban migration seems to be an important factor in the social & economic d urban areas, usually in search of a better livelihood . In evelopment of the rural areas.
Migration and Household Economy
Migration has been significantly reshaping the traditional social and economic structures of rural communities of this country. The livelihood activities of rural families are no longer confined to farming and are increasingly being diversified through rural-to-urban and international migration. With the development of trade and industry and the awareness produced by the mass media, rural poor are shifting towards the urban areas in order to improve their living standards and to search for better livelihood opportunities. The lack of employment opportunities in the rural areas and better employment prospects and infrastructure facilities in the urban areas motivate people to migrate to urban areas. In the rural areas, sluggish agricultural growth and limited development of the rural non-farm sector raises the incidence of rural poverty, unemployment and under employment. Given the fact that most of the high productivity activities are located in the urban areas – people from rural areas move towards town or cities with a hope to grab diversified livelihood opportunities as the rural poor still consider migration as one of the significant as well as reliable livelihood coping strategy. Migration primarily occurs due to disparities in regional development.
The causes of migration are usually explained by using two broad categories, namely, push and pull factors. Studies conducted in the sphere of migration in India - found that poverty, job searching and family influence have been the main push factors for out-migration, while availability of better employment opportunity, prior migrants and availability of better educational facilities have been identified as the key pull factors behind migration. To be more specific, for rural India, poverty is still considered to be the main push factor for illiterates and moderately educated migrants. The National Sample Survey Office in its 64th round survey which was carried out during July 2007 to June 2008, covering a random sample of 5,72,254 persons, covering 79,091 rural and 46,487 urban households spread over 7921 villages and 4688 urban blocks of the country, explored some significant trends of rural migration in India. As per the economists and development experts - migration is essential for development and it is a desirable phenomenon; but what is not desirable is the distressed migration found across the nation resulting in over-crowding of cities and mushrooming of slums. Some states which have higher investment and resources for development experience high in-migration; at the same time, the backward states like U.P, Bihar, M.P, etc are experiencing heavy out-migration. The rural poor from the downtrodden and backward communities and backward regions such as Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh travel to far distances seeking employment at the lowest rungs in construction of roads, irrigation projects, commercial and residential complexes etc. Hence, there is a need for balanced regional development. More focus for development and migration of labourers from rural to urban areas is a reflection of our misplaced development policies; investment in economic growth has been biased toward the capital-intensive urban centers, despite the fact that majority of India resides in the rural areas. Even the little that is spent in villages is wasted in microeconomic interventions to help individual villagers and not the macro-economy of the village as a whole. For instance, the government has no employment generation schemes for cities; yet, there are plenty of jobs and high-paying ones too.
On the contrary, for rural India, there are a variety of job creation schemes for the poor but hardly few jobs are available which are well-paid. Agriculture is stagnating and may not be able to provide further jobs; but most villages have enough other non-farm resources, like forests, which can be used to generate rural livelihood opportunities. Studies aptly indicate that the costs and risks of migration are heavy, including the risk of disease, injury and not being able to send children to school. Given a choice, migrants would not sacrifice their childrenʼs future or their own health, but they are compelled to do so because they cannot look after themselves or their children properly when they migrate. The fault lies with the institutional and policy environment and not with migration per se. Policy responses need to be framed in such a manner that can help the most vulnerable migrants. The emphasis of policy should be on minimizing the costs and risks of migration and maximizing its returns. At present, migrants cannot access to subsidized food through the Public Distribution System, which works on residence criteria; they cannot easily access state schools, cheap housing or government health care. So there is an urgent need to reform policies keeping in view these critical issues. At the same time, there is a need to provide migrants with access to information on jobs, wage rates and their rights as well as to promote safe and legal migration, which includes non-discriminatory legislation, policies and practice to protect the human rights and national entitlements of men, women and children who migrate. So it may be concluded that while addressing the complex issues of migration, it is important to take into consideration the growing incidences of poverty among huge sections of the rural population. It is time the high for the government to tackle the poverty of villages rather than the poverty of villagers. Villagers cannot get rich so long as villages remain poor, too poor to attract modern industry and commerce. The key is now to ensure and guarantee employment for the rural poor by giving utmost priority to generation of diversified livelihood opportunities in rural India on sustainable manner. For the landless and marginal farmers who are in constant debt, migration is the only choice for livelihood. The push arising out of lack of livelihood options in the village and indebtedness and crop loss leads to the pull factors such as the attraction of livelihood in the lean seasons.
However it has been established that migration enables one just enough earning to tide over the distress in the lean season and in no way helps to accumulate capital. The phenomenon of migration is believed to have taken roots in the aftermath of severe drought of the 1960s. Today every year thousands of people across the length and breadth of the region leave their native villages in search of food and employment. Most end up as bonded laborers being paid minimal daily wages. Alienation of land, labour and produce is the driving force for migration. Though the migrants and their households might benefit individually, it is seen that this individual benefit occurs at the cost of net loss to both rural and urban areas, and a decline in social welfare, through overcrowding and increased population in urban destination areas and a greater regional concentration of wealth, income and human capital. Traditionally, agriculture and related cottage industries were the only major professions in the rural areas. These professions could not absorb the ever increasing population in the rural areas. On the basis of a large sample survey in Bihar, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, Oberai, Prasad and Sardana  reported that in all the urban areas of the three states, female migrantsʼ work participation rates are generally higher among Christians and Scheduled Castes/Tribe whether married or unmarried and availability of high productivity jobs in the rural areas could reduce immigration to the urban areas. It is widely accepted that people move in search of employment and also from low wage to higher wage region –a rational choice to be able to earn more and improve their standard of living.
Impact of MNREGA
In the light of this it is necessary to understand whether MNREGA is an alternative to Migration. One of the significant objectives of the MNREGA is to arrest out-migration of unskilled, landless labour force from the rural areas to urban areas by ensuring up to 100 days of wage employment within their native jurisdiction so that these guaranteed wage employment can be judiciously and rationally utilized by the landless peasants during lean and distress seasons. As far as possible, the work site is to be within a five km radius of the applicantʼs village. In case it is not, it must be provided within the Block and the laborers must be paid 10 percent of their wages as extra wages to meet the additional travel and living expenses. MNREGA, too, could become a “predictable” source of local employment (since it guarantees work within a fortnight to anyone demanding it), and therefore reduces distress migration. In this respect, MNREGA contrasts with previous employment programmes such as Jawahar Rozgar Yojana or Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana. MNREGA have significant positive impact on seasonal rural-urban migrations by providing rural workers with employment during the lean season. This will reduce the problems of excessive population pressures in Indian cities as surplus rural labour will find employment in their own villages. MNREGA also have an impact on permanent migrations trends.
While it is difficult to ascertain what the exact impact will be, one can assume that the created infrastructure and the increased activity in the rural economy due to increased purchasing power will lead to higher rates of permanent job creation and thus mitigating the urgency to migrate. Before MNREGA, these tribal villages had no option but to move from place to place during off-fishing/off-agricultural season. But with employment guarantee scheme in place, they have a source of livelihood during drought and off-fishing seasons. The lack of exact official data on migration is a matter that should be corrected as soon as possible as it is quite important to quantify this as accurately as possible as rural-urban migration can become quite a problem for both the source and the destination areas.
However, rural migration is the phenomenon that describes the movement of people from their villages to urban areas, usually in search of a better livelihood . In India there are a vast number of landless labours and equally vast numbers of partially employed workers in rural sector, internal mobility is critical to the livelihoods of many people, especially for people from rural areas who generate a continuous stream of out migrants destined for cities. These emigrants add to their own misery by living on pavements or in slums and add to the misery of the cities by taxing to the already in adequate city and by adding to the un-employed and un-skilled workforce of the city. Existing studies of migration tell us about the destination, occupation, income, visits home and other characteristics of the migrants, but there is hardly any concern with the village-based family. Furthermore, different patterns of migration are seen among certain castes, groups, regions, etc. From some regions only males migrate while from others whole families do so. There are various social and cultural factors that explain the variations in the migration streams to major cities Emotional attachment to village, home and land, sex segregation and immobility of females (except migration subsequent to marriage and migration due to principles of patriarchy and village exogamy, which account for 58 per cent of the total female migration), the concepts of purity and pollution and the norms regarding work in different castes may provide part of the explanation.
Male only migration has been a traditional feature of internal migration in India from regions where local employment opportunities are scarce to places with greater economic opportunities. The women remain at home. There is much more evidence in the oral tradition and folk-songs than in social-science literature of the sufferings and deprivations of the women of such families whose men have gone to earn a living in the city The phenomenon of migrant families dates back to the pre-industrial period, though migration has increased with industrialization. The folk-songs called ‘bidesia’ and ‘birha’ of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, two areas with a high concentration of male migration to cities, refer to the beloved living in a far off Countryʼ and reflect the unhappy and lonely existence of the women who arc left behind . One universal feature of the process of migration in the village is that pre-established ways undergo changes, there are rises in the levels of aspiration and values of the members of the family, changes in the occupational structure and economic status and a revision of inter caste relations. The outcome may be enrichment of the village due to remittances from the city on the one hand, and impoverishment of the village due to the absence of a large number of able-bodied young men, who leave the village to the very young, the very old and the women, who sometimes have to face great challenge. The migrant from the lower stratum sets out to find work in the city without any specific abilities. He is seldom in a position to support the villagebased family which maintains itself with whatever work is available in the village. The woman who remains behind has to assume, in addition to her own familial and domestic responsibilities, the role of sole bread-winner; the older daughter takes over the household chore and plays the role of a little surrogate mother to her brothers and sisters.
An analysis of the family in the village, with the broad objective of observing the effects of male migration disturbs the traditional balance of intra-familial dependence, increases the responsibilities of women for the subsistence of the family and confronts them with frequent economic crisis and emotional insecurity. Does it also bring about an improvement in their control and power over the familyʼs resources and an increasing role in decision-making? Is migration of the male instrumental in the upward social mobility of the family? Is migration the only alternative to cope with the problems emerging from rapid social change? These are some relevant questions that may be difficult to answer within the scope of this study but have been kept in mind in the analysis of the data on the family in the village.
Nevertheless, migration provides a pool of labour that becomes the backbone of any growing economy. A study on the status of migrants working in Delhi city found that they experienced changes in their social, economic and cultural status after migration. Despite discrimination and exploitation they continued to work out of desperation. While they saved a meagre amount which they remitted home to their families, their overall economic condition improved post-migration. Labour is one of the most important factor input for any sector in India. Various employment guarantee schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) ensure the survival of individuals in their native villages and the number of non-migrant individualʼs increases since these schemes reduce both rural and urban migration . Such schemes will also have a drastic effect on supply of migrant labour for not only agriculture but also industry. Therefore, there is a need to understand the socioeconomic status of these migrants and to keep the cycle of development running by retaining them. Laborers migrate from their native states due to various economic reasons  but how far are they able to achieve the desired economic standards and how far does migration help in improvement of their living standards?
More specifically, the study examines the socio-economic background, the determinants that lead to migration, the nature and extent of employment and income, consumption pattern and nature of remittances of these laborers. Also, the employersʼ behavior towards migrant laborers was examined. The migrants form an important base for supply of labour for Delhiʼs economy which requires labour extensively for its growing agricultural and industrial sector. They are looked upon as out siders despite their efforts to be accepted as equals. Efforts need to be made to give them opportunities on par with local labourers so that they do not feel discriminated against. The employers should not only not discriminate against them but also encourage the local labourers to be friendly and respectful towards their migrant counterparts. The locals should also make efforts to mingle with them and accept them as a part of their society so that the socio cultural changes they undergo are more by choice than force. Efforts must be made to set up special cells in public organisations which deal with the problems these labourers face. Such steps would go a long way in providing a sense of security which would indirectly help both, the laborers and the stateʼs economy. Just as the loans of agricultural farmers are waived by the government, efforts need to be made to introduce the same for the poverty ridden nonagricultural rural population as well. Nationalised banks must advertise the loan opportunities and various schemes and make the availability of such loans easy and quick.
The government needs to make special efforts to ensure that the labourers are not forced to work overtime but if that is inevitable then provisions need to be made to ensure that they are paid for the extra hours. Some of the working processes in the industrial units are hazardous and the labourers must be provided with safety equipment and accessories like gloves, masks and special uniforms. Stronger enforcement of laws mandating the compulsory availability of first aid should be ensured. The industrial units should ensure that the labourers are placed appropriately and according to the skills possessed and have job security along with the facilities enjoyed by other permanent workers. The problems of the migrant labourers need to be handled through cooperation and coordination between the labour unions and other government and nongovernmental organisations. However, the trade unions defend the local laborers but do not speak up for the migrant ones. This must change.
Temporary and Seasonal Migration
Temporary and seasonal migration has long been an important income diversification and risk-coping strategy in many agriculture based economies in the developing world. In places where access to non-agricultural employment is limited, or climate (or technology) prevents continuous cultivation, seasonal migration is often the key to a householdʼs income during the agricultural lean season. It is not only an important form of labour mobility in a country with an increasing shift of the labour force from agriculture to industry and the tertiary sector , but also critical to the livelihoods of socially deprived groups, especially tribal people and those from rural areas who lack of employment at their place of origin. This study presents regional patterns and, more importantly, the socio-economic determinants of temporary and seasonal migration in India more specifically. Regional variations in temporary migration are noteworthy in a country. Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Nagaland have a very high intensity of migration. All these states either have a high level of intra-state inequality or a high proportion of STs and SCs. We observe stark rural-urban differentials in the intensity of temporary migration, which may be explained by differentials in levels of economic development in rural and urban areas and the resulting availability of employment.
Overall, temporary and seasonal migration declines with better economic and educational status. In rural areas, those with increasing incomes become less prone to migrate temporarily. Social factors play a critical role in migration decisions. Those belonging to STs have a higher chance of migrating seasonally than people in any other social group. In the recent past, migration in and from developing countries has most often been seen by governments as both abnormal and a sign of chronic social breakdown – an implicit indictment of a societyʼs capacity to provide the social and economic conditions which permit people to lead an adequate way of life in the place where they were born. Many newly independent governments attributed internal migration to the damage inflicted by colonialism – or capitalism – and assumed that the newly liberated powers of the State could be used to end territorial inequalities and create the economic homogeneity across the national territory which was supposedly the promise of nationhood. In essence, population immobility, a settled nation, was seen as the norm. In those societies where nomadism was a significant phenomenon, the cruellest measures were undertaken to force people to settle. From the 1950s with the increasing tempo of urbanisation in newly independent countries, particularly those which grew economically most swiftly, this negative attitude towards migration was reinforced by the fear that the modern economy and local government would be overwhelmed by the numbers of migrants and the spread of vast squalid squatter settlements and shanty towns.
A substantial body of development research and policymaking today focuses on the potential benefits of international migration for developing countries, particularly on the resources that are sent by migrants to their families or communities at home. This new “development mantra”  views migration as an opportunity rather than a negative outcome of poverty and underdevelopment, as migrants from the south working in the north augment their skills and resources and become conduits through which human and financial capital is reinvested in their countries of origin. The current discussion on migration and development was initiated by the World Bank report on Global Development Finance , which claimed that the inflow of financial resources from developed to developing countries in the form of migrant remittances and philanthropy – at $90 billion a year globally – was nearly twice the total flow of official development assistance. Subsequently, international development agencies have repeatedly highlighted the significance of migrant remittances as a source of capital and investment for developing countries. Recent figures put the volume of international remittance transfers to developing countries at $300 billion –an increase of about 270% in the past decade . Diaspora philanthropy is also recognised as an important form of migrant transfers . The current interest in migration and development has produced a large amount of literature detailing the types, volumes, channels, destinations, and impact of remittances and other kinds of resource transfers.
Most of these studies aim to determine whether and how resources sent by migrants to their home countries contribute (or not) to development. However, this work suffers from several theoretical and methodological problems. First, it is practically impossible to assess comprehensively the impact of migration on development either by measuring the net losses and gains of migration or by modeling the macroeconomic effects of remittances . The inadequacy of official data is compounded by the large proportion of remittances that flow through informal channels. Further, most studies remain straitjacketed by conventional notions of both migration and development and simplistic models of their interconnections . Second, migration research often views mobility as a oneway process that mechanically connects migrant sending and migrant receiving countries , while studies of remittances too concentrate on unidirectional flows of resources.
Moreover, remittance research is often carried out in isolation from migration studies, as if these two kinds of flows (of people and resources) were not interlinked processes. Third, the migration and development literature often construct migrants primarily as economic actors, focusing narrowly on financial transactions to the neglect of other dimensions such as intangible flows of knowledge, ideas, and know how, I e, “social remittances” . Similarly, much more attention has been paid to the economic effects of remittances than to their potential socio cultural, ideological and political reverberations . The dominant view of migration and remittances as economic processes with primarily economic outcomes fails to take into account the cultural meanings, political motivations, or social implications of resource transfers. Finally, there is the problem of scale. Despite a growing recognition that transnational networks connect migrants with their home regions or towns at various scales, the development literature has focused mainly on the relationship between nationally defined diasporas and their home countries, and on the macroeconomic effects of remittances – what has been called “methodological nationalism” . On the other hand, we have a number of micro-level qualitative studies that examine how remittance flows connect particular villages or communities with migrant members. While this literature provides a useful corrective to the national-level bias, many of these studies in turn ignore the larger political-economic context that shapes patterns of migration and remittances. Few scholars have attempted to capture the multiple scales at which transnational mobilities and flows occur, particularly at the intermediate level of the region, or the interconnections between different levels and types of flows. In short, to fully unravel the intricacies of the multiple potential connections between migration and development, we need to track transnational flows in all their complexity.
Conclusion: the way forward
Analysis of migration pattern is important to understand the changes taking place in the peopleʼs movement within the country. It is the most volatile component of population growth and most sensitive to economic, political and cultural factors. Proper understanding of the patterns of migration would help in understanding not only the nature of population redistribution, but also regional inequality, labour market and the process of urbanization, modernization and development. Migration from rural to urban areas has historically played a key role in the rapid growth of cities, and along with the reclassification of rural localities into urban centers, it continues to be an important component of city growth. We encounter a ‘double challenge’ for development policy in a country like India: first of all, it needs to convince its own community to rethink the development process in India as a ‘bottom-up’ creation and enhance sustainable productivities of labour through the development of education and health rather than as a ‘top-down’ development through participation in business and industry—one comprehensive, the other dispersed; one long-term and visionary about creating an expanding and self-sustaining market by enhancing the average productivity of workers and hence the purchasing power in their pockets, the other immediate and myopic about selling goods and services to an existing, but limited, market of high-income buyers. It is not just a matter of willingness; in many instances, it would entail long periods of struggling to create the decision-making and priority-setting discerning abilities, or capabilities, amongst the leaders of the migrant communities. Secondly, India must be able to convince the countries of destination (and the other countries of origin as well) as to where the dichotomy of distinction between the most ‘painful’ and the most ‘gainful’ socioeconomic impacts of the migration of its workers—both skilled and unskilled and both NRIs and PIOs—lies. At multilateral forums the ‘adversary analysis’ would help a country like India to press for international norms in the negotiations of the GATS, on the issue of the movement of natural persons as service providers under trade, which is just another description for promoting the temporary entry of migrants without GATS defining it as such, but explicitly remaining inapplicable to permanent migration (Martin 2010: 197). At multilateral dialogues, the so-called ‘vulnerability of unskilled migrants’ and the ‘instability of ‘skill-points’ in immigrant quotas’ underlying the ‘open-and-shut policy’ of the destination countries creates another dichotomy that must be bridged before any impact of migration or return on development is assessed for India.
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